Can You Believe Both the Bible and Evolution?



A number of the world's mainstream religions have come to accept Darwinian evolution as the explanation for our existence. But does Darwinism really square with the Scriptures?

Are we the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve or did God guide our journey into existence by the forces of evolution? The wisdom of this world, particularly in Europe, is increasingly embracing the idea that we can accept both the teachings of the Bible and the theory of evolution. But are they really compatible?

Wrote Clive Cookson in the Financial Times, "The Vatican, which often appeared ambivalent in the past, has recently gone out of its way to affirm the compatibility of evolutionary science with the Bible" (Dec. 23, 2005, emphasis added throughout).

Many clergymen believe in evolution

A movement known as the Clergy Letter Project, signed by 10,000 ordained ministers and priests in America, stated: "We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as 'one theory among others' is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children" (ibid.).

It is astonishing to fully realize the grip that the concept of evolution has on increasing numbers who also profess to believe in God and presumably His Word. And yet at the same time growing numbers of competent scientists are becoming outspoken critics of Darwinism.

As the Australian molecular biologist and medical doctor Michael Denton, himself an agnostic, has written, evolutionary theory "is still, as it was in Darwin's time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe" ( Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 1986, p. 77).

Even some who support intelligent design (ID) somehow conceive of it as also compatible with Darwinism. The Economist put it this way: "But if God has a plan for the world and everyone in it . . . then it is much easier to imagine evolution occurring under divine guidance than as a result of random mutation and the survival of the fittest."

Many believe that God has used the evolutionary process of natural selection to accomplish His ultimate purpose for the human family.

Even the noted paleontologist and agnostic Stephen Jay Gould saw fit to state, "Either half of my colleagues are enormously stupid or else the science of Darwinism is fully compatible with religious beliefs —and equally compatible with atheism" ("Impeaching a Self-Appointed Judge," quoted in Dawkins' God, 2005, p. 80).

This approach—believing that a divine being guided the evolutionary process—is called theistic evolution. But according to what we find in the Bible, has God ever worked that way? The title of this article is: "Can You Believe Both the Bible and Evolution?" It could just as well have been titled "Can You Believe Both God and Evolution?"

Who made a man from dust?

Since there is so little understanding about what Scripture actually says on this subject, let's make the consistent biblical position very plain and clear. The human creation account begins in the first chapter of the very first book of the Bible.

"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth'" (Genesis:1:26).

Here Scripture draws a clear distinction between man and the animal world. Previous passages plainly show that mammals, birds and fish were definitely not created in the image of God (verses 20-25). Only man shares that awesome distinction and for a grand purpose. (To understand further, please request or download our free booklet Who Is God? )

God first states His intention to create human beings and then He does it. "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (verse 27).

More details are revealed in the second chapter. "And the Lord God formed man [Adam] of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of

life; and man became a living being" (Genesis:2:7).

The biblical narrative is in sharp contrast to those who believe that evolution has shaped dust into humanity. In essence this belief amounts to idolatry since evolution has been put in the place of God.

The narrative continues with the creation of Eve. "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: 'This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man'" (Genesis:2:21-23).

The account shows that sex was created by God, not by evolution as so many scientists seem to claim. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (verse 24).

The Psalms confirm creation

Other books in the Bible, like the Psalms, confirm the Genesis account of the human creation. Consider the human eye. We may ask, who designed the first eye? How could the eye possibly be the product of an accidental mutation? How could aeons of gradual change produce an eye—an astoundingly complex organ that needs all of its highly integrated parts to function?

The psalmist gives the credit to God. "He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see?" (Psalm:94:9).

What did King David say about his own origins? "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm:139:14). He attributed his existence directly to God and went on to describe how the Creator knew all of his parts even while he was in his mother's womb (verses 15-16).

David asked the crucial question: "What is man that You are mindful of Him . . . ? You made him a little lower than the angels . . ." (Psalm:8:4-5). He goes on to tell us how man has been given rule over the earth, including the flora and the fauna (verses 6-8).

Columnist Mark Steyn, writing in the British Spectator, said this pivotal passage "accurately conveys the central feature of our world—our dominion over pretty much everything else out there." He adds that the writer of this psalm "captured the essence of our reality better than your average geneticist" ("O Come, All Ye Faithless," Dec. 17, 2005).

Jesus Christ and Paul believed in man's creation

Notice what Jesus Christ Himself said: "But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female'" (Mark:10:6). Then in Matthew's parallel account Christ asks the question: "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female' . . . ?" (Matthew:19:4).

Christ's question underscores the importance of reading and believing the Bible—and in this case especially the creation accounts in the early chapters of Genesis.

When the apostle Paul confronted the blatant idolatry of the philosophers of Athens on the Areopagus, adjoining the Athenian Acropolis, he told them that "the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth . . . From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth" (Acts:17:24, 26, New International Version).

All generations of human beings came from one man—and that man was named Adam. Paul adds, "And so it is written [in Genesis]: ' The first man Adam became a living being'" (1 Corinthians:15:45).

Paul also understood the order in which the first man and first woman were created. "For Adam was formed first, then Eve" (1 Timothy:2:13). And as surprising as it may seem, He also wrote: "For man [Adam] did not come from woman, but woman [Eve] from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man" (1 Corinthians:11:8-9, NIV).

Since all of their descendants were born of a woman (verse 12), Paul could not have written this passage unless he implicitly believed in the Genesis account.

Drawing the obvious conclusions

There is simply no way of reshaping the Bible into a book that also somehow supports the theory of evolution. If we are brave enough to accept the creation account at face value, then theistic evolution becomes impossible to believe. We cannot believe both the Bible and evolution. Both Old and New Testaments consistently support the account of the divine creation of Adam and Eve.

Logically, what we are obliged to do now is to examine the evidence for the authority and authenticity of the Bible, along with God's existence, and compare them with the viability of the theory of evolution. If you would like to seriously pursue these lines of thought, we invite you to request or download our free booklets Is the Bible True? , Life's Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? and Creation or Evolution: Does It Really Matter What You Believe? GN


Ichets

Ichets's picture

If we believe all humans came from Adam and eve - what race were Adam and eve ? Black couples create black babies, white couples creat white babies, have we ever seen a hispanic couple create a Chinese baby ? ( of course assuming there is no cheating) so if it is true that all humanity came from Adam and eve (of some specific race) and it is also true that we have biologically distinct races of humans on earth which always make babies of their own race, then obviously something changed since Adam and eve....and that too is evolution.




triciabrown

triciabrown's picture

I personally think the point here is that we simply cant come from animals or have evolved from one organism and accidentally evolved into man. I do think however that evolution does exist within its own kind. I think humans have evolved over time as well as animals of all kinds, just not from one thing to a completely new or different thing is all its saying. I think people have evolved since Adam and Eve, and remember also that God split them all up in the story of Babbel. That could be where we all then evolved into different races. I have also been told before that there were people on the earth already when Adam and Eve were made, they were Gods special people that he put in the garden. Not sure on that tho that is just what I was told and it makes sense to me that there were others outside of the garden.




Ken Graham

Ken Graham's picture

Hi Ichets:

I've always been impressed by our God being a God of variety. If we simply look at the flowers and the vast variety of flowers, how could a God of such variety and capability be limited by the endless variety He has placed in the human gene or chromosomes? Is it so hard to believe that with all the variety He's placed in the animal kingdom or microscopic biological world, that He would have had some difficulty in adjusting some genes or chromosomes to create a variety of races from Adam and Eve or Noah and his wife or their children? Don't ask me how he does this, I'm ignorant in biological things.

Even man has learned and begun to make small adjustments in genes of plants and animals today. Darwin's theory of evolution has been disproven time and again. But because some of this world's scientists have no better theory (because they reject God and will have nothing to do with creation). Man can be quite tenacious about clinging to ignorance when the only alternative is accepting God and what He says. Christians are Christians because they have the faith to believe that God has done these things and that He is the creator. Faith is not something commonly held in the scientific world.

I don't think I would classify God making a change in the genes of Adam and Eve's or Noah's children, in order to bring about a variety of races as an evolutionary change. It is simply the privilege of the Creator to do so.

Best Regards,
Ken




Larry Walker

Larry Walker's picture

The Bible does not reveal the answer regarding racial origins, but rather only shows that all people have descended from them. That suggests that whatever race they were, they carried genes for all of the races. The fact that different races exist is clear evidence of the fact that God values and desires the racial variety within mankind. Sometimes people attempt to make an issue of the racial background of Adam and Eve to imply that one race is superior to others. We know from Galatians 3:28-29 that God views all ethnic groups the same and every person His potential son or daughter.




Ichets

Ichets's picture

Thanks for your answers. I feel that since bible does not provide answers to these questions then the rest is all speculation. If we scold the scientists for not being open enough to accept creationism as an alternative answer to origin of humans, then, when it comes to missing answers such as this one, we ourselves should also be open minded enough to consider the alternative explanation that the bible cannot be taken literally




Larry Walker

Larry Walker's picture

The Bible doesn't provide specific answers for everything in life but does offer spiritual principles that can be applied to nearly every situation in life. Of course no human being understands the entire Bible, nor does any human being have all the answers (or even know all the questions).

Should the Bible be taken literally? That depends on what you mean. We must be careful not to impose our own interpretation on the scriptures. The Bible does contain much figurative language and symbolism, because this was a common communication style in the Hebrew culture.

However, there are many passages of scripture that should be taken literally, such as "Let us keep the Feast" (1 Corinthians 5:8)and the many passages in which Jesus commands us to love one another, and so many others too numerous to mention.

One of the cardinal principles of exegesis (researching the meaning of scriptures) is to go with the simple, obvious meaning unless it is clear that another interpretation should be used.




Norbert Z

Norbert Z's picture

There is scientific data that supports the idea that Adam and Eve could have been genetically coded similiar to two people who are both racially mixed and are having children together today.

**link removed to comply with comment policy**

So the question "what race was Adam and Eve?" should not necessarily mean Adam and Eve had to be of a particular race to begin with. Albeit other than the human race.




prodigal_son

prodigal_son's picture

Evolution is a framework that explains how species can adapt and change over time. We can see in modern animals how that can happen.

That is not the same as saying, that is how man came into existence. The bible is not a science manual, it does not describe the details and mechanism of creation.

Evolution for its part only discusses now species could develop once life already exists. It has nothing concrete to say about how said life came into existence.

A lot of the controversy that exists arises from the fact that some evolutionist represent evolution as a complete explanation of the origin and development of man. Without evidence for the beginning of life, it is not.

The bible's account does not satisfy scientists, but it is not supposed to. Discovering the secrets of the world would take many lifetimes, the fact that we don't live that long suggest something about the purpose of existence.

Evolution relies for is existence on the idea that the present is the key to the past. It is an axiom. If it is not correct, all the reasoning that follows from it is flawed.

For that reason, a rarely argue the ideas beyond this philosophical point, since I doubt that the answers are within reach.

Some theologian feel the need to prove the existence of god, or disprove evolutionary origin. If it takes a thousand years to do, we won't see the results. So we have to decide now how to live our lives and what we need to believe.

I believe it is in us to find God, and a higher education is not required for this purpose.




pacloc

pacloc's picture

Prodigal son and Larry, both of you said some very fine comments in this matter. First of all at Romans 1:19-21 it is clear that Jehovah reveals himself to us and that it is our choice of whether or not to see him. If we do not want to glorify or thank him, but would rather become our own god with our own reasonings (evolution), we have become empty headed and are inexcusable from Jehovah's standpoint. Verse 23 even shows the extremity of mans' worship of the creation (evolution) over the creator.

Larry you mentioned that it was God's will to have multiple races. I had never thought about it like that before, but it makes perfect sense. He would like to see how we react to each other, knowing that it would be a cause for stumbling for the weak in faith. We can see the wisdom in Jehovah refining us and making us stand out as his people (those who unite in worship no matter the skin color).




antipode77

antipode77's picture

Ichets wrote - "If we believe all humans came from Adam and eve - what race were Adam and eve ? Black couples create black babies, white couples creat white babies, have we ever seen a hispanic couple create a Chinese baby ? ( of course assuming there is no cheating) so if it is true that all humanity came from Adam and eve (of some specific race) and it is also true that we have biologically distinct races of humans on earth which always make babies of their own race, then obviously something changed since Adam and eve....and that too is evolution."

I'd like to address this if I may. All this really takes is a brief look at observational genetics. We'll use dogs for the example. Dogs come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors. This is a function of the genetic information in their DNA. We'll use just one gene in this example, the genes for long hair and short hair (L and S). Lets say we have two dogs with both the L (long hair) and S (short hair) genes. Dog1 has genes "LS" Dog two has genes "LS" thus they both have medium hair. The way reproduction works is that one set of genes comes from each parent. Thus the offspring could come in a variety of makeups with long medium or short hair. "LL" long hair, "LS" medium hair, "SS" short hair. But what happens with the genetic information? The "SS" offspring no longer has the genetic information for long hair and if they were to mate with another "SS" then there would be no possible way for these offspring to ever grow long hair. That "L" genetic information is not there. The only way to get it back again is to mate with a dog that has the "L" gene. This is how we get the highly selected species of dogs we have today. The more selective the breeding the less the genetic information available!
Every change and variation that we see in observational science is actually a result of a loss of genetic information. The Biblical account is correct and the kinds reproduce after their kind. Observational science proves that. Adam and Eve had all the genetic information available in their genes to produce every variation of human we see. Because blacks give birth to blacks and whites to whites is merely a matter of genetic loss of information. Put a black and a white together and guess what, their children can come in all kinds of shades from black to white!
And to give perspective on this issue of genetic information. Scientists have guessed at the number of atoms in the universe and consider it to be about 1 with 50 zeros! Amazing? Yes but they have also guessed at the number of variations in the genetic information available in humans. If any one couple alive today were to have unlimited time to have children there is enough differing genetic information available in them to produce 1 with 2000 zeros children with no two of them being exactly the same! Yet they are all still human!
I am unashamed to stand on the truth of the Bible. With it everything fits and makes sense, and more importantly, with the Bible, I have purpose and hope forever.




Leia

Leia's picture

How do the Sumerians and neanderthals fit in this?




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hi Leia,

Scientists' answers have required revision:

"The 36,000-year-old skull fragment was the missing link between ancient Neaderthals and modern man, Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten told his scientific colleagues.

'His other remarkable discoveries included the remains of a woman who lived 21,300 years ago and a man who lived 29,400 years ago. The carbon-14 dating specialist's findings had long been considered proof that Neanderthals had lived in northern Europe and coexisted, as a separate species, with anatomically modern humans.

'There was just one problem. The professor didn't know how to operate his carbon-14 dating equipment, and legitimate experts concluded that he'd simply invented the dates. The skeletal remains he had dated between 21,000 and 36,000 years old were dated by others as far younger. One of the skulls turned out to be from a man who had died barely 250 years ago—around A.D. 1750...": http://www.ucg.org/science/god-science-and-bible-scholars-fraud-dating-d...




KARS

KARS's picture

Hi Leia,
When we are born our bodies are very tiny. As we grow our bones being to enlarge. We come in different body frames however, as we grow older our bones enlarge. Well, the oldest man before the flood was over 300+ years.

Now if you have read the story about before the flood in your Bible, you will read about alot of sinning going on. Now image how their bodies changed over those many hundreds of years and the dieases spreading around because of sin. We know that they drank wine because in the N.T. it says just like in the days of Noah they were eating, drinking, giving in marriage, etc; before the flood came.

With there bodies enlarging and the drinking and who knows what else was going on, their bodies most probably became deformed because of sin.




Skip

Skip's picture

Hello Leia,

If you believe in evolution then Neanderthals are given prominence and graphic pictures by excellent creative artists. If you believe that God reformed the earth in 6 days after it had undergone massive destruction then you might explain so-called Neanderthals in another way.

Sumerian culture existed well within the approximate 6000 year span of time since Adam & Eve and today.




EstebanM

EstebanM's picture

I'm new here, so, just be patient with me. :)
I understand the discrepancies in the scientific discoveries, but one thing pretty much every Bible scholar agrees on is on the fact that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, more than likely written by different authors, are beautiful poetic tales of creation, not facts, nor historical accounts of creation. Did God create the world in seven days? We don't know...there are no facts supporting that claim. Now, if you read the beautiful poetry of chapter 1 of Genesis, you will see that there are beautiful jewels in there,like per example, how God tells the waters to produce fish, sea creatures and birds.....God calls creation into existence, according to the poem, calls things to develope; tells the earth to produce, plants and animals.....With great poetic sense, the author gives us his view of how things might have happen. He talks about scientific processes, of developing specie after specie. Now, the evidence has shown our planet is millions of years old, why do we insist in putting God in a box of six days? Of instant creation? My personal belief is that God created it all! And that includes the laws of nature that guided evolution.




cjgennaro

cjgennaro's picture

Esteban,

I don't really understand how you see Genesis describing evolution. Everything reproduces "according to its kind" in Genesis. There is no one species changing into other species as evolution would have it.

Also, Christ said that God Himself created the first man and woman (Mtt 19:4). So would you also suggest that Christ did not mean this literally?

I don't see any indication in scripture that the Genesis account is anything other than literal. Why would you think it is figurative?




ruffn3k

ruffn3k's picture

I always thought that the first story of Genesis had to do with Moses's ability to explain what God showed him about how the Earth was created, in that sense, Moses would not of even understood evolution, and had he tried to teach his followers such they would consider him mad. Take into account that in the Garden of Eden there were already trees, flowers, even a snake, which would seem to me that evolution had already been taking place for quite a while. If there's one thing we know about God is that he never takes the quick-n-easy route, so it makes sense to me that he would say to himself, "I'll create man", and instead of just plopping a man on Earth, he took the looooong road of evolution, also take into consideration that evolution helps with true free will, if we KNEW for sure the Earth was only 5000 years old it would nigh impossible to disprove God, our laws would reflect that, and we would be held to standards we could never comply with, evolution gives Man the ability to say to himself "God does not exist", and then allows the man to make his own decisions on what is right and wrong, giving God the best ability to see how man works on his own and if that man can be saved




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

Hi Ruffn3k, I don't understand the phrase, "we would be held to standards we could never comply with"--do you mean, without God's Spirit?




Ivan Veller

Ivan Veller's picture

It’s “impossible to fully…on our own” obey “God's commandments in the full spirit and intent”: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/you-can-have-living-faith/how-faith-empowers-...

“the ultimate righteousness that God is creating in His children…exceeds what any person is capable of having and expressing fully without the divine help…of His Holy Spirit”: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/gods-ma...

“we are able to keep the Law with the help of the Holy Spirit…to keep the commandments through Christ living in us and changing us so that we have the kind of heart that is capable of being humbly obedient to God”: http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/do-i-need-obey-ten-commandments

“The change is for God to write His laws in our minds & hearts”: http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/bible-mini-study-world-will-learn-go...

“The Holy Spirit makes overcoming possible…Christianity is a lifetime of overcoming and growing—of transforming our thoughts and mind to become like Jesus Christ”: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/new-covenant-does-it-abolish-gods-law/circumc...




1consigliere

1consigliere's picture

Hi there to the believers. About this topic I need to say my point of view based on my research. The evolution theory is not only a theory: it does exist. It's a monstruosity but it is a reality. There are bones and there are findings, there are proves that what they believe into it is soon or later being found. How does this happen? It's important not to under evaluate the power of the devil. There is a powerful god behind the evolution and there are miracles being done. It's a sort of twisting of the time frame and expansion of time frames that is always happening because of strong faith in science.
Thus those who support science are a sort of anti-christ who gives strenght to such phenomena. It's very important to expose the facts as they are without trying to deny that they are able to support their theories. It's unfortunate that so many people believe in science and their works. Only science that does charity works is not so bad but science that fights the truth in the Bible very hard are the devil. Science fighting Catholic brothers very hard are the devil as well. The devil is also operating into the Catholic Church to support science and he is outside of it. Believe!




mojo0520

mojo0520's picture

I'll start by saying that I do believe in both god and evolution and its very difficult to give friends, who don't share this belief a reasonable and intelligent explanation. There really is no answer. God made me and he also made me the way I am; inquisitive and always wanting to know how or why things happen, so I have faith that I won't be shunned from heaven for my beliefs. I believe every person has the right to their own beliefs and who am I to judge them or say they are right or wrong. One thing I do know the answer to is the question of race I noticed a lot of people wondered about. All human beings have the genes to be any skin color.The skin turns lighter or darker based on where our ancestors lived on earth. For example if you live near equator your skin is darker to protect you from the sun. If you're light skinned and live where the sun is less hot or strong, having light skin is necessary in order to more easily absorb essential nutrients such as vitamin d. If we lived way longer life spans any person could start out light and gradually get darker if they migrated from 1 region to another. At least that's what I learned in Anthropology!!




cjgennaro

cjgennaro's picture

There is no need to try and fit the evolutionary theory into the Biblical account. A person can be an atheist and not believe in evolution. In fact, there are such people that hold this belief. Without even looking at God, you can look at the evolutionary theory, which is filled with holes, and see that it is false.



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